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UPDATE 10/8/2023 – Gov. Newsom has signed into law:
• SB 700 (Bradford) Employment discrimination: cannabis use.
The bill by Senator Steven Bradford will bar (most) employers from asking job applicants about their past marijuana use. An exception is made for employers who may ask about an applicant’s conviction record.
Thanks to Cal NORML supporters who sent 460 letters to their legislators and/or Gov. Newsom in support of SB 700.
• SB 302 (Stern) Compassionate Access to Medical Cannabis Act
The bill extends Ryan’s Law, requiring specified health-care facilities to allow terminally ill patients to use nonsmoked (or vaped) forms of cannabis with a doctor’s recommendation to patients 65 and over with chronic diseases.
The Governor issued a signing message that anticipated clean-up legislation next year to clarify that hospitals are included in the law, along with skilled nursing facilities, congregate living health facilities, special hospitals, hospice facilities, or home health agencies.
Cal NORML supporters sent in 424 letters to in support of SB 302.
• SB 51 (Bradford) Cannabis provisional licenses: local equity applicants.
In a signing statement, Newsom wrote, “While I support the author’s effort to bring temporary relief to equity applicants, this bill does not address the fundamental issues that continue to increase costs and uncertainty for those seeking to participate in the legal market. To the contrary, another extension may remove pressure to confront local permitting challenges and slow efforts to facilitate the transition of provisional licenses to annual licensure. I look forward to working with the Legislature to consider long-term solutions to streamline licensing requirements and move us beyond short-term fixes. These measures must balance the need for accountability and reform without further impeding applicants already burdened by restrictive local licensing processes.”
Senator Bradford issued a release, saying (in part): “Equity applicants deserve an opportunity to stand up a business, obtain a license, and participate in the market. I am grateful to the Governor for signing this legislation and look forward to seeing the renewal of this important program.”
MJ Biz Daily had a good explanation of the bill. Cal NORML supporters sent in 502 letters in support of SB 51.
The Governor also vetoed two cannabis bills:
• AB 374 (Haney) Cannabis: retail preparation, sale, and consumption of noncannabis food and beverage products.
The Governor wrote in his veto message, “I appreciate the author’s intent to provide cannabis retailers with increased business opportunities and an avenue to attract new customers. However, I am concerned this bill could undermine California’s long-standing smoke-free workplace protections. Protecting the health and safety of workers is paramount. I encourage the author to address this concern in subsequent legislation.”
Cal NORML supporters sent in 466 letters in support of AB 374.
• AB 1207 (Irwin) Cannabis: labeling and advertising.
In his veto message, the Governor wrote, “When the voters passed Proposition 64, they enacted robust protections shielding youth from exposure to cannabis and cannabis-related products. Among other things, voters prohibited cannabis licensees from using packaging, labeling, marketing, and advertising that is attractive to children. To further this intent, the Department of Cannabis Control promulgated regulations establishing extensive labeling and advertising requirements to ensure commercial cannabis products are not marketed to children. While I deeply appreciate and agree with the author’s intent, I am concerned that the definition of “attractive to children” used in this bill is overly broad.” He also wrote,” I am directing the Department of Cannabis Control to strengthen and expand existing youth-related cannabis protections – including measures to enhance enforcement of those protections.”
Cal NORML supporters sent in 321 letters to the Governor in the past two weeks asking for his veto on AB 1207.
The Governor also signed:
• SB 540 (Laird) Cannabis consumer information
Requires DCC and CDPH to create and post for public use a brochure that includes implications and risks associated with cannabis use. Cal NORML asked for amendments to this bill to include warnings about high potency products, and require first-fime customers to be offered the printed brochure.
AB 623 (Chen) Standards for testing variances for edibles.
Prior California law required THC variance testing of cannabis edibles containing 10 mg of THC per serving, and products that contain 10 percent more or 10 percent less THC than 10 mg must be destroyed. This measure requires regulators to develop “appropriate testing variances” for low-THC products.
AB 993 (Blanca Rubio) to include representatives from the Civil Rights Department and the Department of Industrial Relations on the state task force on regulation of commercial cannabis activity.
SB 622 (Allen) – Cannabis regulation: plant identification program: unique identifier
Changes how marijuana plants must be tracked in a way that will promote environmental sustainability by eliminating the use of single-use plastic tags.
SB 833 (McGuire) – Cannabis licensing: cultivation licenses: changing license type: inactive status.
Requires the DCC, no later than March 1, 2024, to establish a cannabis licensing fallowing program for cannabis cultivators who choose to reduce or temporarily pause cultivating cannabis under their license.
AB 1171 (Blanca Rubio) – Cannabis: private right of action.
Gives marijuana business licensees the right to pursue legal action against unlicensed cannabis businesses in state superior court if they can prove damages resulting from the operation.
AB 1126 (Lackey), a bill supported by Cal NORML that specifies that a citation issued by the DCC may be for a claim or representation of a product as licensed cannabis without a license, including the unlicensed use of the cannabis universal symbol.
AB 1448 (Wallis) to recast the law to say in an action brought by a county counsel, city attorney, or city prosecutor, the penalty first be used to reimburse the prosecuting agency for specified costs in bringing the action, with 50% of the remainder, if any, paid to the county or city, as applicable, and the other 50% to be deposited into the General Fund.
SB 753 (Caballero) – Cannabis: water resources.
This bill was essentially gutted following objections from Cal NORML, ACLU and DPA.
AB 1684 (Maienschein) – Local ordinances: fines and penalties: cannabis.
Cal NORML managed to insert language protecting medical gardens into AB 1684 (Mainschein), under both H&SC 11362.5 (the Compassionate Use Act) and B&PC 26033 (protecting 5-patient gardens).
SB 756 (Laird) expands methods of notice for water violations at cannabis grows; authorizes a regional board to conduct an investigation into an unlicensed cannabis cultivation site, as specified. Cal NORML secured amendments to the bill.
BILLS NOT ADVANCING OR TWO-YEAR BILLS
EQUITY PROTECTIONS / EXPANDING ACCESS / HUMAN RIGHTS
AB 1565 (Jones-Sawyer) would require, effective July 1, 2028, the Controller to disburse up to $15,000,000, as specified, to the department from the California Cannabis Tax Fund for the 2028–29 fiscal year and every fiscal year thereafter. The bill would require the department to use the disbursements to support local equity programs in eligible local jurisdictions to assist local equity applicants and licensees gaining entry into, and to successfully operate in, the state’s regulated cannabis marketplace, as specified. HELD IN SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE. TWO-YEAR BILL?
AB 1424 (Jones-Sawyer) would amend Labor Code to protect cannabis delivery employees against being laid off, discharged, or subject to an adverse employment action for refusing to perform work in violation of prescribed safety standards or work that would create a real and apparent hazard to the employee or fellow employees. NOW A TWO-YEAR BILL.
AB-1094 (Wicks) would prohibit medical personnel from performing a drug or alcohol test or screen on a pregnant person, perinatal person, or newborn without the prior written and verbal informed consent, and would require the test or screen to be medically necessary to provide care. NOW A TWO-YEAR BILL. Cal NORML position: support.
AB 471 (Kalra) would authorize the DCC to issue a state caterer license authorizing the licensee to serve cannabis or cannabis products at a private event approved by a local jurisdiction. A similar bill from Asm. Kalra stalled in committee last year. HELD IN APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE.
SB 512 (Bradford) would exclude excise and local taxes from the definition of “gross receipts” for tax purposes. PASSED SENATE FLOOR BUT STALLED IN COMMITTEE.
AB 1111 (Pellerin) has been amended to require the DCC to issue small producer event sales licenses that authorize the license holder to sell cannabis or cannabis products, containing cannabis cultivated by that licensee, at specified state-licensed temporary events. Asm. Wood and Sen. McGuire are co-authors. NOW A TWO-YEAR BILL.
AB 1610 (Jones-Sawyer), the Truth and Transparency in Cannabis Testing Act, would protect cannabis consumers and the legal cannabis market by ensuring products are accurately labeled, and provide greater transparency in product testing. It will also strengthen product recall procedures and reporting for products found to contain dangerous levels of pesticides and other contaminants. NOW A TWO-YEAR BILL.
SB 508 (Laird) would provide that CEQA does not apply to the issuance of a state license to engage in commercial cannabis activity if the local jurisdiction has filed a notice of exemption. NOW A TWO-YEAR BILL
AB 741 (Jones-Sawyer) would prohibit the California FAIR Plan Association from refusing insure anyone who possesses or has previously possessed a legal amount of cannabis, concentrated cannabis, or living cannabis plants, or the applicant or policyholder is or has been a commercial cannabis licensee. NOW A TWO-YEAR BILL
AB 794 (Flora) would require all cannabis advertisements and marketing include the licensee’s name in addition to the licensee number. NOW A TWO-YEAR BILL.
AB 1619 (Dixon) would require a pharmacy or healing arts licensee that dispenses a prescription drug to a patient for outpatient use that has major or moderate interactions with cannabis or cannabidiol products to display on the label or container adequate warning of those interactions. A violation of this requirement would be a crime. NOW A TWO-YEAR BILL.
AB 351 (Chen) would allow for cannabis business license transfers. THIS BILL DID NOT ADVANCE.
AB 766 (Ting) would provide oversight powers to the Department of Cannabis Control to ensure timely payment of goods across the supply chain. It is sponsored by the Cannabis Distribution Association. THIS BILL DID NOT ADVANCE.
AB 1719 (Bonta) would provide that CEQA does not apply to specified actions taken by the department or a local jurisdiction that authorize commercial cannabis activity consisting of retail, distribution, manufacture, or laboratory testing, if specified conditions related to the premises are met. THIS BILL DID NOT ADVANCE.
AB 420 (Aguiar-Curry) would clear the way for licensed cannabis businesses to manufacture, distribute, or sell products that contain industrial hemp or cannabinoids, extracts, or derivatives from industrial hemp, if the product complies with all applicable state laws and regulations. The law would build on Asm. Aguiar-Curry’s prior hemp bills, one of which required the DCC to prepare a report on integrating hemp products into cannabis supply chain, and made psychoactive hemp products illegal in California. NOW A TWO-YEAR BILL.
SB 820 (Alvarado-Gil) would authorize the DCC or any local jurisdiction to seize specified property in the place or building, or within any yard or enclosure, where commercial cannabis activity is conducted without a license required by MAUCRSA, and to seize any vehicle used to conceal, convey, carry, deliver, or transport cannabis or cannabis products by or for a person engaging in commercial cannabis activity without that license. The bill would impose requirements for notice of seizure, forfeiture proceedings, and the sale and distribution of proceeds upon a judgment in favor of the forfeiture. NOW A TWO-YEAR BILL. Cal NORML position: oppose.
AB 1616 (Lackey) would require the Board of State and Community Corrections, in dispersing California Cannabis Tax Fund monies, to prioritize local governments whose programs seek to address the unlawful cultivation and sale of cannabis. The bill would also authorize the board to make grants to local governments that ban both indoor and outdoor commercial cannabis cultivation, or ban retail sale of cannabis or cannabis products. Since it amends Prop. 64, it would require a 2/3 vote (and arguably it doesn’t comport with 64’s intent to reward local jurisdictions that license cannabis businesses). REQUIRES 2/3 VOTE. PASSED ASSEMBLY FLOOR; RE-REFERRED TO SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE. HELD IN COMMITTEE.